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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

The Scale of Things Public Lecture Series: Species, Languages and Companies: are they getting worse at what they do?

30th January 2017, 18:15 to 19:15, Ken Wade Theatre, Calman Learning Centre, Professor Mark Pagel FRS (University of Reading)

Biological species, human languages and companies or firms all exist in competitive environments where only the fittest survive over the long term. Professor Mark Pagel will discuss how similar and unexpected laws of evolution apply at these three very different scales of organization, and how these laws describe a world in which nothing really ever gets better adapted. In fact, globalisation and internationalization have created an economic climate in which the best performing businesses have shorter life expectancies than they did fifty years ago. He uses these facts to think about the nature of businesses and the role of innovation in future economies.

Mark Pagel is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Reading University. He is best known for his work on building statistical models to examine the evolutionary processes imprinted in animal and human behavior, from genomics to the emergence of complex systems, including language and culture where his work has received widespread media attention.

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